Ku Klux Klan Collection

Collection Summary

Title: Ku Klux Klan Collection
Call Number: MS 2014-02
Size: 0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Acquisition: Source unknown
Processed by: LBW, 12-2013
Restrictions: None

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine the manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher, to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

The Ku Klux Klan Collection documents the involvement of George C. McCarron, an Imperial Representative of the Klan, in the organization during its peak years of 1923 to 1924. The bulk of this collection consists of memos McCarron sent to Klan members in the Realm of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska with content about the organization, its doctrine, memberships, and other administrative information. Also included in this collection are an invitation and a program from Klan meetings and photographs of unidentified individuals. Of note are the memos documenting the Klan’s reaction to William J. Simmon’s creation of the Knights Kamellia, a women’s group not sanctioned by the Klan, which led to Simmon’s banishment.

Biography

The Ku Klux Klan, originally founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865, by Confederate veterans, spread across the Reconstruction South targeting African Americans and their allies as a means to restore white supremacy through threats and acts of violence. In the early 1870s, the federal government passed the Force Acts, which effectively ended the organization through prosecution of Klan crimes.

In 1915, William J. Simmons, along with other Klan sympathizers, climbed Stone Mountain, erected a kerosene-soaked wooden cross, and set it on fire. Thus began the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the second incarnation of the Klan was influenced by immigration and the changing face of America. This Klan targeted African Americans, Catholics, and Jews. Klan membership peaked from 1923 to 1924 to an estimated 4 to 6 million.

The Klan maintained a hierarchical structure, referring to their organization as the Invisible Empire. This empire was subdivided into Realms. George C. McCarron headed up the Realm of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska and held the title of Imperial Representative. Part of his duties included communicating with the Realm members, which he accomplished through regular memos that track the organization during the peak of their social and political influence.

Detailed Description: Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 FF 1-2 Meetings. This series contains an invitation to the 1924 Kansas State Meeting in Wichita and the program from Imperial Wizard, Dr. Hiram Evans’s visit to Coffeyville, Kansas in 1923.
Series 2 Box 1 FF 3-4 Memos. This series is comprised of outgoing memos sent by Imperial Representative, George C. McCarron, to Klan members in the Realm of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. The memos include information about state and national meetings; members’ suspensions and banishments; businesses to patronize and boycott; the Klan’s Doctrine of Americanization; the split between William J. Simmons and Hiram Evans, culminating in Simmons’ creation of the Knights Kamellia and banishment from the Klan; and other administrative information.
Series 3 Box 1 FF 5 Images. This series contains photographs of unidentified individuals. The bulk of the photographs are headshots of women.

Detailed Description: Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 ‒ Meetings

Box 1 FF 1 Invitation - Kansas State Meeting, 1924.
Box 1 FF 2 Program - In Honor of the First Official Visit of Dr. Hiram Wesley Evans Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, 1923

Series 2 ‒ Memos

Box 1 FF 3 Memos from George C. McCarron, 1923
Box 1 FF 4 Memos from George C. McCarron, 1924

Series 3 ‒ Images

Box 1 FF 5 Photographs - Unidentified individuals, n.d.